Thinking. Remember that? Things like: “how many tunnels should I build in my snow fort to allow for the quickest getaway?” or “what if I created a way to make vegetables unhealthy and chocolate healthy?” Creativity was easy. It was not contained or restricted, it was not forced and it didn’t care who was in the room before it shared its pearls of wisdom. Somewhere along the way, we stopped thinking. Intelligence became equated with the loudest voice in the room, originality was replaced with what's trending and true independent thought was shelved in favour of the alternative that presented the least resistance to climbing the corporate ladder.
Certainly, this is not always the case- and perhaps a bit cynical. However, it is true that most companies have become so preoccupied with the concept of being busy that business administration has become negatively automated. Yes, automation can be negative. Without carving out time for the ‘thinking’ part, the efficiency sought from automation becomes illusive and the concept of innovation becomes obsolete.
Only the most successful organizations have come to this realization. They understand that true, authentic thoughts which are harnessed and directed toward a specific goal are paramount (not optional, not secondary) if they are going to reach their goals and differentiate themselves in the eyes of their target audience. Perhaps, most importantly, successful companies realize that this ‘thinking’ requires time and desire. Unfortunately, we live in a busy world and things need to get done in order to keep it turning at its current pace- there will never be a reversal in this cycle. Even for those companies who have the desire to induce critical thinking as a common practice within their corporate culture, it is difficult to find the time and/or resources to prioritize the ‘thinking’ over the ‘doing’. What they forget is that without the ‘thinking’, the ‘doing’ will be short-lived.
We can all agree that charting the course of the ship is every bit (if not more) important than steering it. As the saying goes, “if you don’t know where you are going, you’ll never know when and if you’ve arrived”. So why doesn’t this common sense metaphor hold as true in business as it does in the nautical sense? When did the theory of ‘less talk, more action’ become accepted as an intelligent approach to business? Perhaps thinking needs to make a comeback…just a thought.